Midnight Woodworking

Woodworking

Cutting down a door

Today, I am departing a bit from what I usually post. I helped a friend put up some walls, in his basement, this past weekend. We have a bit more work left, finishing the drywall, but the one thing I didn’t want to do on-site was cut down the door. If I only needed to cut off a half inch or so, I probably would have, but this door needed to lose about 4″. While there are ways to reduce tear-out when cutting down a door panel with a circular saw, I have discovered that a table saw works better. Interior doors used to be solid wood, and you could plane or cut away what-ever you needed to achieve the desired door height. Nowadays the doors are made primarily with cardboard. The Luan doors are typically made with wood, with only cardboard supporting the hollow center, but most of the colonial style doors are made with Masonite, which is basically pressed wood fibers (nearly cardboard).

Set up the outfeed support

Set up the outfeed support

I find that I get the least amount of tear-out cutting the doors down on the table saw. I just need good outfeed support, or a second person holding up the end.

Clean cuts with the table saw

Clean cuts with the table saw

The perimeter 1″ of the door is a solid piece of wood. The rest of the door is cardboard inside.

Filled with cardboard

Filled with cardboard

When you trim past the first inch, you need to recover or replace the wood from the bottom. There are various ways to separate the panel from the block. I have used utility knives on luan doors, and I have used chisels.

Separate using a chisel

Separate using a chisel

But since I was in my shop, I just cut the panel away on the table saw instead.

Heck with it, use the table saw...

Heck with it, use the table saw…

 

Block is clean and ready to go back in.

Block is clean and ready to go back in.

As long as you don’t cut into the old block, you can reuse it. Just push the cardboard back an inch or so, then scrape away any of the old glue.

Detach the cardboard at the opening

Detach the cardboard at the opening

 

Apply wood glue

Apply wood glue

Apply wood glue to the opening and/or the outside of the block, then tap it back into place.

Tap the block in place

Tap the block in place

Be sure not to tap too hard. It is really hard to get it back out flush. When the block is seated, wipe away any glue and clamp it up for at least an hour.

Clamp the door end back together

Clamp the door end back together

 

Mark the bottom of the door jamb

Mark the bottom of the door jamb

While the glue is drying, Mark and cut the bottom of the trim and jamb. I used my circular saw to cut away the excess on the bottom. Just pull the blade guard up and run the saw around from the top to the bottom.

Cut the end off with the circular saw

Cut the end off with the circular saw

If you don’t quite get it all, you can hand-saw the last little bits to remove the waste.

Throw away the scrap...

Throw away the scrap…

That is basically all you need to do.

Reassemble the door

Reassemble the door

When the glue is dry, reattach the door to the jamb.

The completed door

The completed door

 

You may want to add a coat of paint to the bottom

You may want to add a coat of paint to the bottom

You may wish to take the opportunity to paint or prime the bottom, especially if there are going to be any potential damp conditions. Otherwise the door is done. I saved the packaging and slid the cardboard and banding back on so everything would stay stable during transport.

Repackaged and ready for delivery

Repackaged and ready for delivery

 

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This entry was posted on November 18, 2014 by in Misc... and tagged , , , .

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